The Omnivault: Chapter 22.

Toby can’t sleep. Not because he couldn’t get himself to sleep, but because he couldn’t get himself to relax. How was I able to do that with my hands? He thought to himself. It’s been a few hours since he went to bed in order to catch a good night’s rest, but his mind was just flustered with so many questions, so many random thoughts, that it overwhelmed him too much to reach that state of relaxation. His brother wasn’t there in the room. Given that it’s almost the weekend, Toby thought, he’s probably out drinking with his friends again.

Omnius was in the room with him. He had placed Macrodon inside of a fish bowl — only that the fish bowl was actually an old glass cookie jar Toby’s mother owned. When Toby came by the garage earlier and saw this, he immediately punctured a few holes on the lid so that Macrodon could breathe. Omnius brought him along when he sneaked up into Toby’s room. “Back again in the old…wait, what do you call this place?”

“It’s called a bedroom.” Toby replied to him. “How’s your pet?”

Ribbit.” Macrodon croaked inside of the cookie jar.

“Still alive, I hear?” Toby said, rhetorically. “What are you even doing here, man?”

“I’m here to join you, dude.” Omnius replied. “And Macrodon, too. Although, he’s getting a bit slippy.”

“Sleepy.” Toby corrected.

“That’s what I said.”

Toby yawned. “Keep talking, I think it’s actually working.”

“What’s working?” Omnius asked.

“You talking to me is getting me sleepy.”

“Slippy.

“No…” and with that, Toby slowly faded into a deep slumber.

His dreams usually started in the same way. He sees himself back in that spot, back in the middle of the city wreckage. The sky is painted in red; blood red. The smell of burning flesh everywhere. All of the buildings are just broken down to rubble. And people he knew were screaming all around him. Toby usually relives this moment, even if it was just a dream, and witnesses it again and again, over and over. And the same thing happens almost every night, ever since that first night three years ago.

But this time, his dream started very differently. He sees himself inside of a room with unorthodox patterns on each of the walls. The room wasn’t a typical four-walled structure that human beings had. It was sort of heptagonal, but the seven walls varied in length; even in height, as some parts of the ceiling were slanted. Toby looked and saw several figures standing, sitting, crawling, and running all around him. It seemed that he was running around the room with them as well. These figures looked to be in the same age as what a child would look like. Alien children. Toby thought. At least they look and act like children. Where am I?

The dream proceeded with him playing with the other aliens. He felt like he was having a wonderful time in that room. Toby himself has never really gotten the chance to live his childhood years as fully as this. So being around these other kids, playing with them and their alien toys — it began to feel like the happiest moment in Toby’s life.

But the scene suddenly changed. He saw himself confronting two bigger aliens. They didn’t look like Lady Veergha and Ervagh when Toby first saw them in their true forms. These aliens looked rather more human. Human-ish. There were still these little features that made them look distinctly alien. Like how their eyes were colored purple, and their skin was of a pale orange hue. Their teeth seemed symmetrical whenever they smiled or spoke. And their ears had a slight elvish shape to it; the lobes were a bit pointy on the upper side.

One of the aliens, who Toby assumed would be the female of their species, spoke to him. “By this act of consigning you to the Volgan Empire, you are then giving honor to our species. In the process of your maturity with the Volgans, you may never remember what you are, and even who you are. You may not even recall what I am saying right now. But this moment is of no purpose to you, for it will only be removed from your cortex. You will remain loyal to the Empire; the Gniisvekh Program will see to it that you will comply with their every order and command.”

“Couldn’t they have chosen a more suitable species?” The male alien asked the female. “She is all we have!”

“The Empire deems her worthy to even be chosen as a valid candidate of their on-going program. She was chosen — “

“She is a child!”

“Yes!” the female alien continued. “…yes she is. A child that will achieve what our species could not. Don’t act so weak, Korevaen. All first progeny of our generation were selected as well. Not just our own.”

“She wouldn’t even remember her own name, Kuriava. Do you not understand that?”

“The only thing we both should understand — and accept — is that from now on, she will be called, remembered, and worshiped by us, in her name: Veergha.”

Toby woke up in the middle of class. Someone was shaking him, “Didn’t have a good night’s rest, did you?”

Toby looked at whoever was shaking him, “Mara?”

“You’ve been dozing off again, Toby.” Mara ruffled his hair. “I told you not to watch too many movies when there’s a quiz the next day. Miss Victoria’s gonna fail you in her class again!”

“I didn’t — “ Toby rubbed his eyes. “Why are we talking?”

Mara tilted her head. “What do you mean?”

“You know what I said to you, right?”

“Come on, Toby .” Mara playfully said. “Okay. I’ve been thinking over it and all. I don’t care if you feel like you’re trouble when you’re around me.”

“You should, Mara.” Toby said to her. “Especially now that I don’t even know how to control these abilities that I got from — ” he suddenly paused when he realized something Mara said. “Wait...Miss Victoria?”

Toby looked in front of him, and saw Lady Veergha in her human form, writing something down on the blackboard.

“Now class,” Lady Veergha said. “I want all of you to pay close attention to our new lesson for today. This one will definitely take up a large portion of your grades, so listen up. Especially you, Mr. Luna.”

“Lady, what are you doing?” Toby asked her. He looked around and saw his friends; Tom, Drew, June, and Amanda. They were all looking at him like he had just committed a serious crime.

“Dude,” Tom said to him. “what the hell? You got some balls to be calling Miss Victoria ‘Lady’ like that.”

“What are you talking about?” Toby looked at Tom, “You call her ‘Ladyyourself!”

“Mister Tobias Luna!” Miss Victoria stood right in front of Toby. “What did you just call me?”

“Toby,” Mara said to him. “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t — “ Toby looked all around him. All of his classmates were just looking at him. Their faces were all stoic-looking, almost dead, actually. “I don’t know how to explain what’s going on, Mara.”

“Well you better come up with a good explanation right now, Mister Tobias!” Miss Victoria said to him. “Never have I ever been humiliated like that in front of my class! You should be ashamed, young man!”

“What the hell are you even talking about?” Toby screamed at Miss Victoria. “You’re the one who needs to be explaining things to me! Like how did I get your powers? And why are you acting like a teacher — which you’re totally nailing, by the way. And Mara — “

He looked to where Mara was seated, but she wasn’t there anymore. He wasn’t in his classroom anymore, either. He was back to that moment. Back in the middle of all of the rubble. The destruction of the city was everywhere. Mara was calling out to him from afar. She was trying to tell him something. No. She was yelling something to him. She was angry, and crying. “You think you’re so smart, do you? Don’t you see that you can’t put your logic to what’s happening between us? You don’t know that we’ll end up being bad for each other! Nobody knows! That’s not how this works! You have to trust the process. We have to trust that it’s possible! But if you’re so sure on what you believe will eventually happen, then…then what’s the point for us to keep trying?”

Dammit. Toby looked at her. God Dammit! Not this again. He slowly turned his gaze upwards, and saw a huge monster looking down at him. The same monster that he’s been seeing for the past three years. “Damn you. God Damn You!”

As the monster stomps its foot down to the ground, crushing Mara in place, Toby wakes up back in his bed. He saw June shaking him awake. “Didn’t have a good night’s rest, did you?”

He sat upright, looked behind her, and saw his friends. They were all there in his room. “What are you guys all doing here?”

“You slept through the whole day, man.” Tom told him.

“We didn’t see you in school.” Drew added. “We figured we’d find you here.”

“And we did.” Amanda said. “What’s Omnius doing with that frog?”

The room was silent for a moment. Toby just looked at his friends; his eyes were getting wet.

“What’s wrong, Toby?” June asked him. That was when his tears just started to fall. It took no more than a second for June to give her friend a hug. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

Toby just cries under her embrace. Not wanting for it to end.

End of Chapter.

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